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Universal Preschool Program

New Preschool Program For Colorado Families

*This webpage will be updated as we receive more information from the Colorado Department of Early Childhood (CDEC)*

Beginning in the 2023-24 school year, the Colorado Department of Early Childhood (CDEC) will fund at least 10 hours per week of high-quality, voluntary preschool for every child in Colorado for the year before entering Kindergarten (Pre-K).

The Universal Preschool Program (UPK) allows families to choose the right setting for their child, whether it is in a licensed community-based, school-based, or home-based preschool setting. UPK is a result of Colorado voters passing Proposition EE in 2020.


preschool students playing

WHAT THIS MEANS FOR JEFFCO PUBLIC SCHOOLS' PRESCHOOL FAMILIES

Starting in the 2023-24 school year, Jeffco families will be able to take advantage of 10 hours per week of free preschool provided by the CDEC.

NEW THIS YEAR: Preschool Enrollment Process

Jeffco families will use Colorado’s Universal Preschool Program (UPK) application to enroll in preschool for the 2023-24 school year. Families will not be able to apply for preschool in EnrollJeffco on December 6. 

 Due to implementation of the new UPK application, families will wait until January 2023 to apply. This change is for preschool enrollment only.

To learn more about Colorado’s new Universal Preschool Program, visit the Universal Preschool for Jeffco Families website.

IMPORTANT DATES

January 2023:

Universal Preschool (UPK) application opens – Families enroll their student for preschool.


Frequently Asked Questions about Universal Preschool


What is the Universal Preschool Program (UPK)?

Beginning in the 2023-24 school year, Colorado’s Universal Preschool Program will provide 10 hours per week of free, high-quality, voluntary preschool to every four-year-old Colorado child in their year before entering kindergarten.

Note: to be eligible for the 2023-24 school year, a child must be at least three years old and younger than five years old on October 1, 2023.

Families will be able to choose among different program types (i.e., centers, homes, preschool – private and public) and select one that best meets their needs.

How do I apply for the Universal Preschool Program?

Families can apply for the 2023-24 year using the Universal Preschool application beginning in January 2023. This user-friendly application portal will allow families to determine their child’s eligibility for Universal Preschool and eligibility for additional hours. The application will be available in multiple languages including English, Spanish and Arabic.

What can families do to prepare for the Universal Preschool application?

To prepare for the UPK application, make sure you have a copy (PDF, digital, photocopy, etc.) of your child’s birth certificate. You will need this to enroll your child in the UPK program.

Learn more about how to obtain a birth certificate in Colorado.

Will the Universal Preschool program replace the existing Colorado Preschool Program?

Yes, the Universal Preschool Program will replace the existing Colorado Preschool Program – which provides 10 hours per week of preschool for at-risk students and is administered by school districts.

Some children will qualify for more than 10 state-funded hours based on risk factors that are still to be developed within the UPK program.

What if families need more than 10 hours of preschool per week?

There will be a number of ways to access additional hours, as we know many families will require more than 10 hours a week of preschool education.

Some children will qualify for additional state-funded hours based on risk factors yet to be defined by the CDEC. Information about risk factors, application process, and additional hours of care will be published as it becomes available on the CDEC website.

Many children who meet risk-factor criteria will also qualify for Colorado’s Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP), Head Start, and other funding sources that can be stacked on top of the 10 UPK hours per week to meet the needs of families. The CDEC is working towards creating a single, unified application for all of these services.

In coordination with their preschool providers, families are also welcome to provide a co-pay for additional hours as needed.

What is a Local Coordinating Organization (LCO)

Local Coordinating Organizations (LCOs) will be responsible for the coordination of Universal Preschool at the local level – this includes supporting families in navigating enrollment, tracking and reporting on seat availability in preschools, communicating with and supporting providers, and ensuring the smooth rollout of at least ten hours of free voluntary preschool for every child in the year before they are eligible to enter kindergarten. In time, CDEC will work with LCOs to broaden their areas of coordination, building a cohesive system among all early childhood service providers in their catchment area.

Jeffco Public School District’s LCO is Triad Bright Futures. Learn more about what an LCO is and Triad ECC’s role is implementing Universal Preschool.

Where do I go for more information or if I have questions about UPK?

For the most up-to-date information on the Universal Preschool Program, visit:

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